Thursday, May 29, 2008

The splendour of Tunggu Sekejap


How apt.

On the eve of the 35th anniversary of his death, and with a Hari Seniman looming large the next day, his work was celebrated at the Dewan Philharmonic PETRONAS, and again I was mesmerized by the philharmonic orchestral version of Tunggu Sekejap.

It was the very reason I decided to give the Malaysia Philharmonic Youth Orchestra a try, and with about 100 members playing last night, in general I was not disappointed. Despite some flaws - according to Arif; especially the horn players, and some certain individual notes, rare though it may be, from a couple of the violin players, I have enjoyed the show. I especially like the arrangement, especially since the brass section was played sporadically and to good effect too.

I always thought that the orchestra at the Istana Budaya was a tad too loud. They tend to play everything all the time, drowning the melody. This was specially heard during the Idris Sardi concert, much to my chagrin.

It goes without saying I am not much of a fan of the brass section, especially the loud ones!

The arrangment of Tunggu Sekejap was really good. I can see P.Ramlee strumming his guitar waiting for the rain to subside so that he could meet up with Saadiah, even though there was no guitar this time around in the arrangement. The trumpet leading the arrangement was smooth, and it was a killer - to my mind - when the violins took over the lead.

I didn't like Bunyi Gitar - I thought it was not appropriate. Then again I was never a fan of Bunyi Gitar. I personally don't think the song can be made orchestral due to its melody, but who am I to argue with the MPO. There are many other beautiful songs of P.Ramlee that could have been showcased.

I was fortunate to have met this former boss of mine at the concert; when I was a rookie engineer at one refinery in the East Coast. A very smart engineer, who would put us men to shame in the day-to-day running of the refinery. If you think that woman engineers are not meant to be working in the oil and gas industry, running big refinery complex, she is a proof that you got it all wrong with woman engineers.

Well, she is now the CEO of Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (and yours truly, hmmm, an unknown).

Ain't it wonderful to have one of us (process engineers that is) helming the MPO! I always have this nagging feeling that one day we could rule the world! Hahaha...

I introduced Arif to her (she had met Akmal at her Raya open house last year). She told him that Kevin Field would be conducting the audition in December himself, and there sight reading and perhaps pieces to practise before the audition. "Ala American idol?" I asked her, with a twinkle in my eyes. "Yes, something like that," she responded. Arif managed a wry smile, with a nervous tint in his eyes.

"We need more viola players,"she said, "typically there would be enough violin players."

"You may want to convert (from violin to viola)."

May be we will give the audition a go; though with him sitting for his SPM by then, I am not sure.

I had personally asked her to give a thought on getting more local songs arrangement on the market, especially arrangement for piano, violin or duet or quartet. MPO with their resources would be doing a wonderful national service to get these pieces in the market into the hand of youngsters like Arif and Akmal. Apparently she had passed my suggestion to her staff for consideration.

I am keeping my fingers' crossed! There is ready market in us, she would not have to worry.

We didn't see or hear any piece involving classical guitar or piano during the concert. I guess Akmal is a bit disappointed with that and he was wondering if there would be an audition for classical guitarist. "Practise, practise and practise," I told him, " when MPYO is auditioning for one, I want you to be ready."

"When they want to play Concierto de Arunjuez," I added, " MPYO would be looking for you!"

Akmal smiled; hope raised, I believe.

Well, as a dad, I had to what I had to do.

I am not saying the both of them would one day be playing for a philharmonic orchestra. I told Arif during the break that I would be equally proud if he would be a pilot who is able to play the violin and piano and be good at both. On the other hand, I also told Akmal, if he were to be a doctor one day, he could entertain his patients with his pieces on classical guitar, and not only prescribe medicine.

I am sure his patients would have a better chance of recovery, God willing.

In other words, they would be someone different from their colleagues.

Well, on this day the 35th year anniversary of his death, I do wish he is still with us.

His work is. That's for sure.
I had wanted to take the kids' picture with the CEO of MPO hoping that the berkat from her would rub off to them, so that one day they would be taking over! But with Tun Dr Mahathir as the special guest at the concert last night, I thought she would be busy.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Laughing in the rain


The pic says it all. It is ecstasy actually.

Thank you Neil Sedaka for the phrase. Actually the song is Laughter in the rain.

As I have said earlier, I love the rain, and now I am thankful for the rain (for making the pitch slippery).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Crying in the rain


Keep on crying John Terry - big man, big tears . I guess that slip is the repercussion of him spitting at Tevez. Sometimes the punishment can be swift. We have to be careful too. Do not wrong anyone.

Yeah you too Avram. This pic said it all. Crying the rain, literally. Thank you Everly Brothers. To see them reduced to tears after all the defiant (and arrogant) statements prior to the game, aahh...

No, I have not turned my back on the European champions just b'cos I got a few rubbles contracts from Roman.

Actually, the joy is winning is not only seeing your triumphant team hoisting the cup, or the beaming smile of Alex Ferguson, but it gives great pleasure too to watch the agony on Lampard's face, the sulking face of Avram Grant, and most of the all, the cry baby John Terry.



Hahaha, I know some Chelski's fan would be upset with me, but I thought I should just bask in the glory of the moment - my moment in the sun, so to speak.

So let me post here some of the pictures of the agony of the losers, which would give as much joy andpleasure to us as the pictures of Reds celebrating. Seeing the sorrow and disappointment on their faces would double the enjoyment of United fans.

Keep on crying in the rain, Chelsea.


Oh by the way, enjoy the song, to all Chelsea's fans, from the bottom of my heart!
http://

Here is the lyric, just in case you have forgotten it, or too young to remember.

I'll never let you see
The way my broken heart is hurtin' me
I've got my pride and I know how to hide
All my sorrow and pain
I'll do my cryin' in the rain

If I wait for stormy skies
You won't know the rain from the tears in my eyes
You'll never know that I still love you so
Only heartaches remain
I'll do my cryin' in the rain

EPILOGUE

Sorry I couldn't resist writing this entry after surfing quite a bit today! Simply couild not resist gloating. After March 8, 2008, now I have May 22, 2008.

United are Champions of Europe, again



After all the drama and suspense, United are champions of Europe again!

It pays to wake up at 4 am, not really to watch the game, but to prepare the clarification document for a client. But the pull of Soccernet is too much that I end up reading the minute-by-minute blow.

I thought as penalty shoot-out loomed, United was going to lose. It was, after all, as Sir Alex had mentioned, his first win on penalty. Do you honestly think only the 'Pool can win in a penalty shootout? ;-)

After 1999, 2008 is another year to remember.

Well this time there was no... forgot his name now, a former Blackburn defender, climbing above everybody then the Cup was lifted, and being so prominent in the celebration eventhough he was a sub. No complaint from me though, everybody deserved their place in the sun.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mother's Day Update


The music notes of Ibu and Seri Bunian

Arif and Akmal performing Ibu while Mak and the other guests were having their lunch. This is at my sis Farah's house in Bukit Subang.

I am not sure if anyone appreciate it that much to be honest. Except for may be Mak who thanked Arif and Akmal for the performance, though she lamented that the songs were so sad. I don't think it was meant that way. I think the violin has that effect on you. All the songs are cheery - Ibu, Seri Bunian (a lovely love song albeit one quite mystical if I may say that) and Bahasa Cinta (aka Tiada Kata Secantik Bahasa). All three songs are beautiful love song; a self-professed love song.

My bro in law (in pelikat) as the host asked us how much would we charge for such performance. Depends, I guess. Arif has played in front of the Felda bigshots and he was paid handsomely by the Felda management for two songs on the piano. But I guess he would also play for pizza!

And yeah, don't ask me why Arif looks funny in this pic. He looks like he is made from a single sheet of paper.

This is Mak and my bro's family at KLIA that night while waiting for their flight to Mekah for the Umrah. We reached there by midnight at the night Manchester United won the league!

Friday, May 16, 2008

"The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book"

So the saying goes (Author unknown).

In conjunction with Teachers' Day, I would like to dedicate this entry to all my teachers from my primary schools right up to secondary. Last year I had a great time writing about teachers from the first half of my primary school life. Read Belatedly, with Apology - A Teachers' Day Special.

This time around I am only able to come up with pictorial blog. But that does not mean they are less important to me.

King Edward VII-1 Primary School - Rugby, bola, Penilaian Darjah 5, more bola and more rugby. Thank you sir, thank you ma'am.

MRSM Kota Bharu - (1977?) - A very dedicated group of teachers. May Allah bless all of them. They may be young then, but I must say I have never seen such dedicated teachers. Without them, MRSM would have been an unknown entity.

MRSM Kota Bharu - This time in colour

While we have always seen them posing as a group in official pictures, we seldom see them in the classroom. At least then before the advent of digital photography and camera hp. I don't believe I have any copy of pictures of them in action in the classrom, but I was lucky to have many pictures of them since I was the custodian for the reunion magazine that we did in 2003.

These pics are published without permission; so I had to be choosy in the selection. I do hope they would not mind me posting them here as a dedication to them.

My physics teacher - Cikgu Wan Rosli aka Waro with Cikgu Wan Nasihah. We were supposed to visit him in KL when we found out that he was ill. But no one picks up the phone when we called, so we had to abandon our visit and didn't get to meet him. Moga Allah mencucuri rahmatNya keatas ruhnya.

They do know how to have fun and hence we were able to have fun with our studies too. Amongst them Cikgu Waro, Cikgu Nik (English), Pak Nik, and Cikgu Shaari - my biology teacher. I had fun with Cikgu Shaari; notably the MRSM Kulim expo which we won second place with an entry on Ubat Gigi. Don't ask me lah - forgot already!

And they were active in sports too - Cikgu Rahman (BM), Cikgu Ghazali (Chemistry), Cik gu Fatanah (Geography, now Dr), Cikgu Nik Faridah (BI), Cikgu Wan Kadir (Geography). I would not have been a chemical engineer had he (Cikgu Ghazali) not taught me from his heart.

Lunch with Cikgu Somchit (BM) in KL in 2003. She taught us BM in 1976 - the other 3 are my classmates; her students.

Lunch with Cikgu Wan Tik Sakinah (Geography) in PJ in 2003. A very nice teacher too during those days, she looks much younger than even her own student! I have really enjoyed her presence as a teacher. She retired as a pengarah MARA last year.

Pengetua MRSM PC Cikgu Wan Nasihah and Cikgu Nik during a visit by these old students! (2003). Cikgu Wan Nasihah had never taught me or my class per se but she was a teacher from during those days and hence I consider her as my own teacher. As for Cikgu Nik, she taught me English in F1 in 1976, so I guess she would have much influence in my writing in my blog in the new millennium. She retires as a specialist teacher and would not accept a post other than a teacher!

With aruah Cikgu Azizah at her home in PC in 2003. I was fortunate to have been able to visit her a couple of days before her death. MOga Allah mencucuri rahmat keatas ruhnya. Amin. I remember her calling me in the 1990s asking if I could attend and give a speech on during a career day at MRSM. Unfortunately I had to say no due to my work load that month. She had never taught me or my class, but she remembered me enough to be calling and I regret till today that I gave her a negative response.

with Cikgu (Dr) Fatanah at my office in 2007. Thirty years may have passed but she will always be a teacher to me. I was very humbled to have her at the office warming. One thing about tyhat I could never forget was when she rewarded me with RM1 for getting 100% for one of her tests and of course later for getting A1 for SRP 1978. I could really used the money then! She retired as an MRSM Jasin principal and a Maal Hijrah award recipient.

Happy Teachers' Day, cikgu-cikgu. Thank you.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Glory Glory Man United



Life as a Manchester United fan is never easy. We could have claimed the League three weeks ago at Chelsea, but instead it went to the wire. It is just a trait of Man United to keep their fans in suspense. It is bad for me that I can't bear watching United at all now. My doc has told me not to watch the game anymore lest I have problem with my heart. No, he didn't actually advise that; but I am smart enough to know my limit! ;-) And, no, I don't have a heart problem.

Anyway as I have pointed last years, the ecstasy override all others at the end of the season. And I was quite high last night after following the game over at Soccernet. I am relieved; 10 championships in 16 years ain't bad and we are now just 1 short to equal the Pool's record.
As I have pointed last year, I love his smile - when he smiles, my (football) world rocks. I hope there will be many more of this smile, hopefully by end of the day on May 21, 2008.

Thanks again Sir Alex, thanks again Manchester United. It has been worth it following them all my life, even during the lean years. Especially after displacing Chelski with the resources of the Roman Empire.

Now I am hoping that they would grab the Champions' League. Nonetheless the biggest of them all - the Premier League, is in the bag and hopefull MU can relax a bit and enjoy the game.

EPILOGUE

After having many sleepless nights -that Carlos Queroz and Paul Scholes even appeared in the nightmare, I thought my world is collapsing around me. After the 2-1 loss against Chelski a couple of weeks ago, I was beginning to dread the month of May that had given us the beautiful song First of May by the Bee Gees. I had certainly thought of May as the 13th May. I thought I would have to ban newspaper from my house for the next 1 month for fear that I would read the backpage.

I thought I would even have to change my homepage to something else other than ESPN Soccernet.

That's what I did in 1998. But luckily, it turns out just the way it should be.

Hey Prof, what's the reaction of the people in Newcastle? I guess they would be celebrating too except
the team from St James' Park! ;-)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Mother's Day Special

PROLOGUE

This is Arif and Akmal practicing their Mother's Day special. They are supposed to perform this beautiful P Ramlee's song, which I would consider the anthem for all mothers, at my sis' in front of their nenek, their own mum (which would be an anticlimax since she would have heard them practicing all day), and their aunties.

They would also be performing Bahasa Cinta (or better known as Tiada Kata Secantik Bahasa), which I thought is very appropriate for the occasion and Sri Bunian. All the songs were written by P Ramlee.

Here's one for Mak. Happy Mother's Day, Mak dan semoga mendapat keberkatan dari Tanah Suci.

video

Have you ever really loved a woman (Part II 2008)

So Mother's Day is here again. I remember it last year when I wrote a piece on Mak, while I was away on a project in Kerteh. A year has since passed, and this time around I am in the comfort of my own room, but not necessarily full of ideas of what to write.

I remember reading a quote on mother. "A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie."

This one I don't disagree. It fits mak well. But then again she is more than just that.

One thing for sure, while it is not easy to be a mother, it is even harder to being a mother to 13 not-so-young children. It is often said that one mother can take care of her so many children, but the reverse may not necessarily be true. Thirteen independent children with their own mind and lives and not necessarily in sync with one another, and may not even see eye to eye and her role as the centre of the family's universe and keep everybody in their place.

A mother never cease being a mother even when the children are old and gray. According to Honore De Balzac: A mother who is really a mother is never free.

I remember coming back, after a long shift - I was working at a cement plant in Padang Rengas, Perak then, to our empty house. It was so quiet, it was actually soulless. Mak was not around as she would normally be. So I went to my grandma's house in Aulong and was told by my cousin that Mak was in hospital. I chided him for not telling me at the plant, fully aware that the year 1986 was unlike 2008 with the proliferation of the cellphones. So I rushed to the Taiping GH - it was 9 pm or slightly later, but I could not see her.

It was close to 10.30 pm when she was wheeled to the operating room. I could not speak to her - she was in so much pain. I was helpless (and clueless, I must admit). Having a degree in chemical engineering, and having just started my career, I was in no position to offer her anything to alleviate her pain.

The main thing that crossed my mind then was that I knew I should have taken medicine and be a doctor - only then I may offer her something.

But I was glad I started my career in my own hometown that at least I was there when it all happened. Thankfully her appendix operation went smoothly that night and she recovered fully.

And I am glad to say that even when she is fast approaching 70 years old, she is still healthy enough to travel up and down KL and she is even travelling to the Holy Land tonight, again.


Read "Have you ever really loved a woman (Part I 2007)."

Friday, May 9, 2008

The hills are alive...

.


....with the smell of durians!


What an anti-climax, did I hear you say? And I don't blame you for thinking that way.

One would be imagining, I guess, of Austria, or the Rockies, and the romance of the The Sound of Music (and of course Julie Andrews), whenever one read the title phrase, but here we are talking about Mantin in the Minangkabau state of Negeri Sembilan.

I thought I was falling in love all over again, as I absorbed the view presented before me and I must admit that when I first saw it, I did fall in love. It was that lovely - sunset, rolling hills and of course the mountains in the background. My imagination was running wild - sipping teh tarik on the verandah of a kampung house while watching sunset in the background with the durian trees in the foreground.

Ah, lovely. This is every Malay male's dream - of the pensioner kind, that is!

These pictures below did not do justice - it was, after all, taken with my hp camera, but it should give you an idea of this beautiful location where I am dreaming of having my durian orchard. It was near perfect - it would have been if the sun sets directly behind the mountains (or the hills), depending on perspective or definition.

Eventhough it was not in the same league as the lovely sunset that aruah dad and I saw way back in 1979 in Kuala Kangsar that I wrote last year - you can read Senjakala here, but lovely enough for me to momentarily lose all my sense of being.

Actually, it is just a dream at this moment for the price is not too favourable. To my wallet that is.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tol Protest at Mahkota Cheras


(map taken from http://malaysianindian1.blogspot.com/2008/04/pakatan-rakyat-govt-demolished-bdr.html without permission.)

I was caught in the massive traffic jam enroute home to Hussein Onn from Ulu Langat, and was told that "Ada rusuhan, Encik," by a policeman. What rusuhan? If not for the police there, would it be a rusuhan?

Waste my time only, aiyah!

Honestly, the tol operator has no business blocking the entrance. Just imagine, the residents at Mahkota Cheras have to go south (heading toward Kajang) before they can go North to Kuala Lumpur. In doing so, they would have to pay the RM0.90 tol.

Not only they would have to spend more money on the petrol, they would have to pay tol too. What a scam!

Hussein Onn where I live is just on the opposite side of Mahkota, and yes, we were spared the tol. I guess Uda in the 90s had negotiated that the tol be placed downstream of Hussein Onn. Then again, we do have an inner road that I take daily that would bypassed the hiway totally.


The FRU is ready. This is at the Hussein Onn exit.

I can only see people standing and watching. A rusuhan? You can see the massive traffic jam in the background created by the blocking of this exit.

The scenes at the Mahkota entrance/exit


The police above was saying, "Ada rusuhan, Encik" when I protested that I need to exit to go to Hussein Onn.

Are you sure? I didnt see any; only the FRU standing by.

In the end, the tol operator won as with the police action blocking the exit, I had to go south and pay the RM0.90 and then make a U turn north, and making them richer for nothing!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fire Fighting


I am totally exhausted with the fire fighting that I had to do the past month or so.

Don't get me wrong - yours truly is not qualified to become a fire fighter. For someone who can't stand the heat, that would be the last thing on his mind. While once he had to go into a smoke house and find his way out and came out unscathed, he had no intention to make that his day job.

On the contrary, that walk in the pitch-dark house full with smoke - even with breathing apparatus, is one walk he wishes he would not to have to undertake anytime soon.

(PS The smoke house is not where they would dryout the tobacco. This smokehouse is for training personnel in dealing with fire, breathing apparatus, and about finding your way out in smoke.)

Anyway I am figuratively talking about fire fighting at work. No lah, nothing about in fighting in the office what-so-ever; I am talking about the fact that I need to start the hiring process all over again which take me away from my real responsibility of expanding the business - you know all those planning, the scheming, the dreaming..... Eh sorry, that's a Linda Ronstadt's song.

Anyway, if you know anyone looking for the following post, please let me know. I would be extremely thankful.

1. Chemical Engineer - prefer a fresh graduate as training will be provided
2. Account Clerk - SPM or someone with LCCI.

Chemical Engineer
Responsibilities:

Provide technical support to our growing users in South East Asia
Develop simulation model and design
Troubleshooting users simulation models
Liaising with clients on sales and support
Conduct training in simulation and process engineering

Requirements:
A Degree in Chemical Engineering with good grounding in thermodynamics and unit operations
Familiar with process simulation software (VMGSim/iCON or HYSYS or equivalent)
High degree of aptitude with computers
Fresh graduates are encouraged to apply
Willing to travel, self motivated, result orientated, responsible with good inter-personal skills and able to work independently
It is expected that candidate is fluent in spoken and written English

Account Clerk
Responsibilities:
To attend all secretarial duties including coordination of meeting, travel, personal & confidential matters with minimum supervision
Day-to-day office administration tasks
Able to maintain full set of accounts independently with minimum supervision
Work with auditors in maintaining accounts for the companies

Requirements:
Minimum SPM with basic accounting; preferably with LCCI or secretarial certificate.
Minimum 1-2 years working experience in accounting and administration
Must be computer literate, i.e. be able to handle Microsoft Excel & Word.
Positive attitude, hardworking, trustworthy and matured and able to maintain confidentiality at all times.
Strong in communication and interpersonal skills.
The candidate should be proficient in written and spoken English
Willing to work at Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras